Sometimes it is easy to forget that Inverness Caledonian Thistle are actually still quite a young club, relatively speaking.
Yet today this twenty year old club took on the mighty Celtic at Hampden and won the five goal epic to reach their very first Scottish Cup final.
Now let’s get the controversy out of the road. Celtic did deserve to win a penalty in the first half, when the Glasgow side were one nil up. Somehow the referee and that useless official behind the goal-line missed a clear handball from Caley Thistle’s Josh Meekings. That incident should have also seen the Caley Thistle man sent off too.
Now Celtic fans have jumped to conspiracy theories; The ref has a season ticket at Ibrox, Hugh Dallas’ son Andrew was carrying on his dads vendetta against the Hoops or it was just a typical SFA corrupt decision.
In fairness to Celtic boss Ronny Deila, he didn’t slaughter the refereeing team. Instead he made a few well phrased assertions on their performances.
I don’t believe any of the tosh that it was down to cheating, for me it was just yet another extremely poor decision that has blighted the Scottish game for the past few seasons. If only the SFA had the balls and cash to use instant TV-replay evidence.
But let’s not forget the fact that the Inverness side played superbly well and deserve their moment in the sun. Plus it wasn’t their fault that the officials got things so wrong in that earlier incident.
All of Caley’s goals were well worked, even the move that lead to the penalty. Obviously the Craig Gordon sending off just compounded it all for the Celtic fans. In truth, Caley grew throughout the occasion and their slick passing game often caused problems for the opposition.
Many of Caley’s recruits have come from south of the boarder in the English lower leagues, but three players who played today started their careers with the club; Nick Ross, Graeme Shinnie and Ryan Christie. It was great to see Shinnie and Christie being instrumental in helping their team to this famous win.
As ever, when a set of fans are left disappointed and angry, you’ll get another group that are excited and euphoric. The Thistle fans traveled around 170 miles to get to Hampden, the away supporters will regularly travel vast distances just to support their team. So they too deserve to enjoy this golden moment in their history.
It was also a nice touch from the manager John Hughes, who dedicated the amazing victory to injured goalkeeper Dean Brill, who will also miss the final. Brill has been in inspired form this season and was a big reason for Caley Thistle getting to this stage.
Hughes said this of his missing keeper…
“That’s for Dean Brill – a guy who’s been absolutely outstanding for us.”
John ‘Yogi’ Hughes deserves special praise too. He took on a difficult task in replacing Terry Butcher, who had done an excellent job in the Highlands. Many thought that Hughes would falter and that the club would go into a decline. But Yogi has done a sterling job and kept the momentum going, they are now in their first Scottish Cup final and lie in third spot in the Scottish Premiership.
This has been a fairytale season so far for Caley Thistle and they might just get their ‘happy ever after’ if they can defeat Championship side Falkirk on the thirtieth of May!
Congrats again to Inverness Caledonian Thistle, they really are the pride of the Highlands.